Dressing when in a wheelchair

I have been a full time wheelchair user for many years however have remained as independent as possible in that time. I have always found ways to problem solve most things that come my way but i need some help now please.

I can stand for a few seconds, launch myself over the end of my profiling bed and pull my knickers and trousers up by myself. Sometimes it takes me 6,7,8,9 times to stand and at night i do the reverse to undress. My MS nurse wants me to have a care package to help with this and other things and i feel a bit ambivalent at the moment because i can’t see how it will help as i presume the care assistant won’t be able to lift me up. I have a hoist but this still doesn’t get round the dressing issue, or does it? I have also been referred to an OT and Physio to see what ideas they can come up with.

Are there are people out there who have got it cracked?! All suggestions gratefully received.


That sounds very familiar.

I sit on the edge of the bed and lift my left leg over the right. Then for completion, I help myself up on the bed rail and totter for a few seconds. If I’m unsuccessful, I finish it off on my riser/recliner.

Maybe the hoist can help but needs work!

Best wishes.


easier or harder to dress on the bed? i know this depends on what u can do.

using commode instead of chair? diff angle/height?

its not blooming easy is it?!

hope you find a way.


Hi Gill,

Whenever my MS Nurse offers me something that may help I jump at the chance (so to speak).

You don’t have to adopt their suggestions permanently.


Hello Gill

It’s flipping hard. I have a fairly handy OH who is often available to help. But even then it’s not always ideal. Being a man, he doesn’t understand that sometimes pants shouldn’t come up so high you end up with a ‘wedgie’. And trousers should preferably be straight rather than off to one side.

When I’m trying to dress myself I well know the sit-semi-stand-collapse, repeat 10 times routine. I still try. I have a folding stander (like a frame but folding so not constantly in the way). I attempt to stand up from my bed, steady myself on the frame, then pull up pants/trousers before they’ve hit the floor. Then sit back down again (gracefully - not!). Then do it again. And again, generally accompanied by some gentle swearing.

With help it’s not ideal and I quite often end up with trousers just about up, then have to lay down on the bed to do the blighters up. With my helpful husband to give me a hand up.

I can see the point about carers helping, the thing is though, that stand, sit, stand, sit routine isn’t a bad thing to keep doing. It actually keeps you doing it. Yes it’s infuriating, but you might find that more help comes at a cost of less ability.

Hmm, a difficult one.


I have a carer to help get dressed with “the bottom half”. My difficulties are not so severe as yours. I’d say take the package. You can work out the “how to” with the carer. They are trained in moving and handling and safe lifting. It would make the standing bit easier and then steady you for the hiking of the knickers! Plus dunno about you but socks…complete dead loss w.o. help.

See how you get on. i find the taking it all off does need a carer…gravity does a lot!!


I’m a wheelchair user too. The way I get the bottom half done is to have my bum near the edge of the chair, Then, I lean back, push down with my feet, and use my core strength to lift my hips up (if you know the ‘bridging’ exercise from Pilates, it’s basically a sitting down version of that). I can then quickly pull my undies and trousers up.


Hi Gill,

Yes, strange yoga like positions to get underwear on. Can’t really advice on technique but Summer is so much easier as no tights, socks or trousers.

I use a scooter when I’m out and about and I wear, what I call scooter dresses. Easy to pull on over my head, no zips, buttons or ties. Slips down over the rest of my body when I stand up. Quite a high neck, so I don’t flash things when bending down to put the seat onto the frame. Knee length or longer so I don’t flash too much thigh!

Don’t wear anything tight waisted like trousers, jeans or shorts.

All bought on auction site as it’s so difficult to get out and about to the shops.

I think there are companies that makes clothing for people in wheelchairs, use the search engine.

J x

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